I always find it amazing that when things are getting really rough- with sponsorship rejections coming  like Pigeon crap from above, another angle opens up or is suggested. I remember being so engrossed in the idea that contacting Corporates was the only way to go that the blinkers I had on just shut out any other option worth considering. As with everything it does help when their are people on board with connections to the right people who can make the decisions about sponsorship.

Venting my frustration over coffee with a friend and feeling like every avenue I followed had reached a dead end, the suggestion of approaching Public Relation (PR) agencies was suggested.

The issue with Corporate sponsorship is that the only reall benefit to the sponsor is that they’re doing it  for philanthropic reasons, to raise their profile, and  media exposure. There isn’t much financial gain if any at all. PR agencies are always looking for angles to promote their clients profile so they should be the ideal partner.

So back to the drawing board I went. I had my proposal template- but that now had to be slightly adjusted to include a return for the PR agency. Thanks to the ever convenient Internet my days were now spent searching for PR agencies, contacting them and finding the right people to sell my idea to. My phone bill  made for interesting reading.

Most of the PR agencies were very accommodating and they also have the expertise to find an angle which can be linked to a proposal. Some interesting conversations took place Some actually specialize in this kind of business of raising sponsorship. For these specific agencies they will charge a retainer of approx R5000 per month as an admin fee and then a negotiated percentage of the the total sponsorship fee. Other agencies put the idea onto their books and take a percentage of the sponsorship package.

I have had experience in the past where I’ve paid a PR agency the initial retainer (nothing to do with seeking sponsorship) but I wasn’t too impressed with the results so I wasn’t interested in going down that road again.

I must say that I formed a relationship with a woman at one of the agencies I approached. They weren’t interested in what I was asking for but one of the partners-who has been in the PR business for quite a while actually called me a few times to give me pointers about my proposal and who I should be contacting directly. She also gave me some common yet sound advice. The advice just confirmed that I was on the right track and that someone did believe in what I was trying to do.  Her advice was highlight the benefits to the sponsor ,  whatever you do, don’t give up,your idea is good and someone will go for it. I live by her advice and I’m totally appreciative that there are people out there who are willing to help in any way possible.

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